Thursday, 30 April 2009

Philippines ffering over 200,000 jobs in Labor Day celebration

Emilia Narni J. David, Sarwell Q. Meniano and Darwin T. Wee
Employment events to culminate on June 12
BusinessWorld Online

OVER 200,000 jobs would be offered in fairs to be organized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) on Friday.

In a press conference yesterday, DoLE officials announced the jobs fairs would be held simultaneously nationwide in celebration of Labor Day.

"We are creating an environment for people to have access to jobs so that is why we are holding this mega-job fair," Labor Secretary Marianito D. Roque.

The May 1 job fair, called "Labor Day Tayo Na! Trabaho Na! Jobapalooza 09," would be held simultaneously in 16 regions.

Labor Undersecretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz said there would be a total of about 45,000 local jobs and 176,000 overseas employment in the fairs. The overseas jobs are mainly in the construction and hospitality sectors.

Mr. Roque said there would be a livelihood orientation that is backed by a total grant of P7 million for beneficiaries.

In a briefing after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting in Tacloban City, Mr. Roque said the job fairs would culminate in a major employment event to coincide with the Independence Day celebration on June 12 .

"This is a continuing program. We’re trying to avert the effects of financial crisis. Some companies are in their rebound stage now. They are starting to rehire some of the workers who were displaced at the onset of the global financial crisis," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Roque said the wage increase issue is "definitely not in line for discussion on May 1."

"It will have to wait for one year maturity which is in July. Because the wages are due for review only after one year," he said.

Most of the wage orders issued by the regional wage boards took effect in June 2008.

The law states that within the 12-month period from effectivity of the wage order, no petition for wage increase may be entertained, except when in a supervening condition such as an extraordinary increase in prices of petroleum products and basic goods and services.

For retrenched workers

In a related development, an estimated 4,000 workers in the Zamboanga Peninsula who were retrenched due to, among others, the global financial crisis will be prioritized during the region’s job fair.

"Aside from the job offerings, our department has already released more than P3 million to affected workers for retraining and livelihood projects," Ponciano M. Ligutom, DoLE regional director, told BusinessWorld in an interview.

Zamboanga Peninsula reported low job losses with only close to 100 returning overseas workers, but local companies specializing on wood products and marine exports have cut off at least 891 workers during the last quarter of 2008.

The situation was compounded when more than 3,000 workers from the non-formal sector were also displaced after local producers of coconut, seaweed and rubber, the three export products of the region, suffered from low demand abroad leading to lower revenues among affected local suppliers.

The DoLE regional office is expected to release P6 million on Friday to augment the emergency funds for displaced workers, Mr. Ligutom said.

In addition, Angie A. Engalla, officer-in-charge of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s regional office, said they have budgeted P1 million for retraining and scholarships for returning overseas workers, or up to P60,000 per beneficiary.

Mr. Ligutom said 13 overseas recruitment agencies and 11 local companies will join the event.

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